Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Random Notes-- Banksters, Joe Miller, The GOP Nazi Guy, And Getting Out The Vote


I don't know if it was more about being exposed as a crook or because he was exposed as a fascist thug, but last week Joe Miller's campaign started to implode-- big time-- and in a state where fascist thugs are pretty mainstream and corruption is the name of the game. I guess voters just don't want that stuff in the headlines so much. Today, the NRSC signaled what teabaggers always suspected, that they're throwing the Craziest Catch overboard and getting behind primary sore-loser Lisa Murkowski's write-in campaign as the GOP's last desperate attempt to keep Alaska from winding up with two Democratic senators!

Cornyn, of course, is publicly denying the GOP is finished with Miller, petrified teabaggers will turn against establishment Republican candidates already distrusted by teabaggers, particularly Mark Kirk (IL), Roy Blunt (MO) and Rob Portman (OH), 3 Republicans with solid voting records against everything the tea party claims to stand for. If the extreme right of the fragile GOP coalition turns against these 3 as revenge for the betrayal of Miller, any hopes for a Republican takeover of the Senate will be immediately dashed. ABC News reported that "a high level GOP source" had let them know that the NRSC is now banking on Murkowski, who is widely hated-- as much as Kirk, Blunt and Portman-- by the teabaggers and especially by Palin, who would rather see Scott McAdams win than her mortal foe Murkowski. Teabaggers are very aware that all NRSC ads attack McAdams and none have attacked Murkowski. When someone close to her explained this to Palin it drove her into a frenzy.
It's a remarkable turnaround for Murkowski.  She was punished by party leaders last month-- unceremoniously stripped of her position as ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and her role in Senate leadership -- when she refused to bow out of the Senate race and endorse Miller.  But she has consistently said she is still a Republican and will caucus with the Republican party if she wins.

The nightmare scenario for Republicans is that McAdams comes in second on Election Day, trailing "write-in candidate."  Those write-in votes won't be counted unless there are more write-in votes than there are votes for any candidate on the ballot.  Once the write-in votes are counted, however, some of them will inevitably be disqualified (illegible writing, wrong name, etc.).  And a small number will be for candidates other than Murkowski.  If enough are tossed out, second place McAdams would be the winner.

I don't think anyone who's followed the election campaign even minimally believes that Miller-- or for that matter corporate shills like Kirk, Blunt, Portman and Murkowski-- believe it is the job of an interventionist government to act as a counterbalance against gigantically powerful and completely self-interested corporate-- often multi-national corporate-- forces. Today's NY Times asserts that the banks tanked the economy. That may be true but isn't government supposed to protect society from powerful predators and punish the evildoers? I wish the YES that most people would answer that question with would lead to a Democratic sweep Tuesday, like it did in the somewhat similar 1934 midterms (after Roosevelt's initial election and 2 years of GOP obstructionism and right-wing fanatics screaming about socialism. But, even if all Republicans are evil corporate shills-- and they surely are-- these days not all Democrats fight against their corporate paymasters with requisite vigor. Some, including many who will be looking for new careers after Tuesday (think Blanche Lincoln and a pack of Blue Dogs), every bit as in the tank to the corporations and the wealthy as the Republicans are. As the Times points out, the International Monetary Fund found that the persistently high unemployment in the United States is largely the result of foreclosures and underwater mortgages, rather than widely cited causes like mismatches between job requirements and worker skills. The Republicans, Blue Dogs and other conservative Democrats have saved their efforts to fight to protect the evildoers rather than punish them or even stop their rampage against law and order.

Tomorrow night (Monday) Alan Grayson will be at a rally with three Democrats who are all better than Republicans, Bill NAFTA Clinton, Alex Sink and Kendrick Meek. Doors open at 9:15 at Lake Eola Park, 600 N. Robinson St. in Orlando. You can reserve tickets at

The Ohio Republican Nazi guy, Rich Iott, campaigned with his political benefactor yesterday, John Boehner. Embarrassed that Iott had gone on TV and admitted dressing up for years in an SS uniform and then defending it by telling a stunned Anderson Cooper than SS collaborators and volunteers were just "freedom fighters" (remember, right-wing "freedom," whether Republican or Nazi, is about the freedom of the wealthy and powerful to exploit the vulnerable without being hassled by countervailing forces), Boehner tried keeping the event closed to non-rightists. The closed-door appearance was at a call center in Lucas County-- although I'm surprised the GOP hasn't outsourced their call centers to India-- and the Toledo Blade captured the event on video. The would-be SS officer is on the left, beaming at the would-be Speaker (in the red jumper).
"I just ask you for three days for all of you to be 'all in' to make sure we bring home [John] Kasich [Republican candidate for governor] and [Rob] Portman [Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate], and the whole statewide ticket," Mr. Boehner said.

Prompted, he then added, "and Rich," in reference to Mr. Iott, who was standing near him.

Wisconsin has 6 large newspapers that, between them, cover the state. Most of them are pretty conservative and some have never endorsed Russ Feingold in the past. This year, with an actual agent of China and Wall Street running for the Wisconsin seat, all the papers endorsed Russ Feingold. The Oshkosh Northwestern isn't one of the state's bigger newspapers, although it is reliably conservative. It's also Ron Johnson's hometown paper. And it also endorsed Russ Feingold.
At a time when America needs intelligent, principled, grounded and inspiring leadership, voters should send Russ Feingold to the United States Senate to help lead us out of tough times dominated by angry and divisive politics. Feingold embodies the best qualities of Wisconsin we could hope to send to Washington to represent the best interests of our state and nation.

...Candidate Johnson has railed against government programs but businessman Johnson has enjoyed the benefits of those programs.

His answer to questions in the limited interviews and appearances he has made have shown a propensity for vague and scripted talking points that strike emotional chords without substance or thought. For instance, he refused to spell out in any detail what federal programs he would cut in an appearance at the Milwaukee Press Club in September in response to a question about the major theme of his campaign, smaller government.

"There's billions of dollars . . . that from my standpoint would be available for cutting. But I'm not going to get in the game here and, you know, start naming specific things to be attacked about, quite honestly," according to a news story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That is precisely the type of information voters should have to evaluate whether Johnson's choices line up with their own.

Johnson has simply not run a campaign that has made a compelling and substantive case to replace a senator as effective and well regarded as Russ Feingold. On Nov. 2, voters should return Feingold to the Senate.

The Final Thought: Sen. Russ Feingold is the most qualified candidate and should be re-elected.

Although DSCC chair and egregious Democratic corporate shill Robert Menendez very pointedly torpedoed her chances, one populist Democrat who never wavered a minute from fighting for ordinary working families is North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. She's closing her campaign with the same feisty and incisive focus she started it with-- laser-beam attention to what really bothers ordinary North Carolina voters. “This election is about whether the middle class really survives or not,” she said. And that reminds me of a video you can't watch too many times-- one I really suggest you send to everyone you know tonight and tomorrow:

Or, if you don't like sending videos, think about sending Jed Lewison's post from Friday's Daily Kos, a post that many brainwashed voters will probably find challenges their preconceptions about the last few years. He asks 4 questions-- and answers them.
1. What was the average monthly private sector job growth in 2008, the final year of the Bush presidency, and what has it been so far in 2010?

2. What was the Federal deficit for the last fiscal year of the Bush presidency, and what was it for the first full fiscal year of the Obama presidency?

3. What was the stock market at on the last day of the Bush presidency? What is it at today?

4. Which party's candidate for speaker will campaign this weekend with a Nazi reenactor who dressed up in a SS uniform?


1. In 2008, we lost an average of 317,250 private sector jobs per month. In 2010, we have gained an average of 95,888 private sector jobs per month. (Source) That's a difference of nearly five million jobs between Bush's last year in office and President Obama's second year.

2. In FY2009, which began on September 1, 2008 and represents the Bush Administration's final budget, the budget deficit was $1.416 trillion. In FY2010, the first budget of the Obama Administration, the budget deficit was $1.291 trillion, a decline of $125 billion. (Source) Yes, that means President Obama has cut the deficit-- there's a long way to go, but we're in better shape now than we were under Bush and the GOP.

3. On Bush's final day in office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 closed at 7,949, 1,440, and 805, respectively. Today, as of 10:15AM Pacific, they are at 11,108, 2,512, and 1,183. That means since President Obama took office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 have increased 40%, 74%, and 47%, respectively.

4. The Republican Party, whose candidate for speaker, John Boehner, will campaign with Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott this weekend. If you need an explanation why this is offensive, you are a lost cause.

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For "Tales of the City" fans the new book is self-recommending; others owe it to themselves to give the books a shot


Mrs. Madrigal's secret, finally revealed at the end of the first Tales of the City book and series, then becomes pretty much a non-issue. Olympia Dukakis is Mrs. Madrigal; Laura Linney, Mary Ann; and Donald Moffat, the dying Edgar Halcyon.

"You aren't listening, Mom. I'm trying to tell you I'm a grown woman."
"Well, act like it, then! You can't just . . . run away from your family and friends to go live with a bunch of hippies and mass murderers!"

-- Mary Ann Singleton, 25, on vacation in San Francisco, informing
her mother by phone that she's not returning to Cleveland,
at the outset of the original Tales of the City

by Ken

Growing up has always been one of the things the Tales of the City stories were centrally concerned with. Since Mary Ann was 25 when the first story took place, in 1976, that means she's about to turn 60, assuming she makes it to next year. She has at least made it far enough to allow her creator, Armistead Maupin, to offer us the brand-new Mary Ann in Autumn, which has its official publication date Tuesday.

For a certain group of readers, namely those of us who have followed the lives of the onetime residents of 28 Barbary Lane in the six original Tales of the City volumes, published between 1978 and 1989, and then in 2007, after an 18-year gap, the suddenly arriving Michael Tolliver Lives, the newer books are self-recommending, and perhaps also for viewers of the three lovely TV miniseries made from the first three books (first seen in 1993, 1998, and 2001) -- though I suspect these groups are largely overlapping. (Actually, I was not an original Tales reader. I'd heard about the books for years, of course, but didn't experience them until all six of the original books had been published.)

I suspect there are a lot of potential readers who haven't yet discovered these amazing books, perhaps thinking the stories are, in one way or another, too parochial in their concerns, too "in" -- in a "San Francisco hippie culture" way, or perhaps a "gay" way -- to speak to them. This is a misfortune that fortunately can be easily corrected, since the earlier books are now available conveniently in a pair of "omnibus" trilogies (Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, and Further Tales of the City as 28 Barbary Lane: A Tales of the City Omnibus; Babycakes, Signifcant Others, and Sure of You as Back to Barbary Lane: The Final Tales of the City Omnibus), and copies of all the earlier books can be found pretty cheap all over the place.

The first Tales of the City miniseries was made so long after the tales were written that it seemed to a lot of people as if they were blithely unaware of AIDS, whereas of course the books kept all too painfully attuned to the epidemic. The death of Jon, one of the most treasurable fictional characters I've encountered, at the midway point of the original six books hangs over most everything that happens in the later ones. Michael's continued survival as an HIV-positive man is one of their (not to mention his) central realities. But the books are so much more than "gay stories."

I have the rather odd perspective of somehow having only discovered when I was tipped off to the imminent publication of Mary Ann in Autumn that Michael Tolliver Lives even existed. I ordered a copy immediately, and in the meantime undertook a crash expedition through the last three of the original six books, which I hadn't read in ages, and especially hadn't read since the making of the TV versions of the three earlier books. It turned out to be a whirlwind experience indeed. Within a few days I found myself checking the mailbox every day for the "new" book. The night it finally arrived I attacked it, and reached the end about five subway stops before mine on the way home from work the next day. While I wait for Mary Ann in Autumn, I've gone back to the earlier books, whose characters and events are so tightly bound into the later ones.

On reencounter, I was reminded how much I cherish those characters -- what Mrs. Madrigal refers to as a "logical family," for most of us more real than the real kind. In fact, with knowledge of their subsequent lives, I found myself now absorbed by all sorts of things I recalled having once given short shrift. Now, of course, it's hard to read the books without a sensory awareness of the indelible film portrayals: above all Olympia Dukakis's uncanny incarnation of Anna Madrigal, the mistress of 28 Barbary Lane, but also Laura Linney's Mary Ann, and Donald Moffat's Edgar Halcyon, and Billy Campbell's Jon, and perhaps the first Michael (Marcus D'Amico) and Mona (Chloe Webb).

It was always evident, but now strikes me as even more striking, how vivid, believable, and grabbing Maupin's portrayals of his straight characters are. Are there any straight novelists who could deal as engrossingly with gay characters? The relationship between Mary Ann and Brian is as fascinating, and painful, as ever. All in all, it was an unbelievable experience -- especially now that I'd forgotten most of the plot twists and turns -- retracing the further lives of Mrs. Madrigal and the others, and then catching up with those missing years via Michael Tolliver Lives, not told in the third person, as the earlier books were, but told by Michael himself. (It's also startling, with Michael and Brian having emerged as the story's central characters, to revisit them with awareness of the American Queer as Folk and its central characters, curiously named Michael and Brian.)

Of course, for a long time the Tales tales have also been crucially concerned with the other end of living, and it's inevitable for Michael in his 50s -- and Brian already in his 60s -- that this end of the life spectrum now colors everything. As Michael points out, having against all his expectations survived his HIV status, he now finds himself overtaken by all the "normal" ways we work our way toward the end.

In a way it was an odd stroke of fate for me -- a lucky one, I think -- that i didn't discover Michael Tolliver Lives, one of whose central plot lines is the final decline of Michael's mother in distant Florida, until after my mother's protracted decline and passing . . . in distant Florida. Many of the specific issues are different, but a lot of the fundamental ones are eerily familiar. This may be yet another way in which these stories simply don't speak to readers younger than the Tales generation that more or less grew up with them. I really have no way of judging that. But I think it's too bad, and wrong. I do hope people who haven't given the Tales a shot yet will do themselves the favor of doing so.

[Note: I can't tell you anything more than I have about Mary Ann in Autumn, because just as I did when I found out about Michael Tolliver Lives, I've determinedly avoided reading anything more about it until I'd read it, so as to avoid spoiling surprises. For the same reason, for the benefit of those who may yet discover the Tales tales, I've chosen a deliberate vagueness with regard to plot details to lessen the incidence of spoilers.]

POSTSCRIPT: I don't think I mentioned that the Tales books are also really, really funny, in case you didn't know.

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Real Monsters Among Us: Republicans Get More And More Emboldened


-by Noah

This week a member of an Arkansas school board saw nothing wrong in encouraging young gay people to just go and kill themselves. This was deliberately said in a current atmosphere where, tragically, more and more young gay people have thoughts of doing that very thing. This man’s words are but one indication of what it means to be a Republican in the year 2010. How sick it is of these wingnuts to say to gay kids “Go ahead. Make my day.”

In nut state Texas, one Pastor Stephen Broden, a Republican teabagger favorite, running for Congress and frequent guest on Glenn Beck’s daily side show is on the record saying that violent revolution is “on the table.” He was, naturally, endorsed by the Dallas Morning News; so much for that dreaded “Librul Media.” To be fair, the paper reluctantly withdrew its endorsement after even some Texans found Broden’s feelings to be a bit over the line (although Palin didn't). Bottom line: yet another FOX loon, and this one, like so many Christonuts, hides behind his position as a man of the clergy; no need to ask me why I’m not a churchgoing kind of guy. 
It’s a sign of our times that the right wingers are feeling more and more emboldened to openly express their hate towards those they see as “other” or “different” in increasingly more reprehensible ways, right down to the concussion-causing head-stomping in Kentucky or arresting a guy for being a Democrat in Virginia, at an event he was invited to! In true teabag fashion, the victim was then accused of being what his accusers are. He, the victim, was blamed and labeled a thug by Eric Cantor’s own spokescreep. Think about how you often see the Republican element calling others what they themselves happen to be? It makes for great cover and goes unquestioned by a cowed, pliable, and supportive media. The best defense is a good offense, especially, if we don’t call them on it.
How long before roving gangs of teabaggers are just dragging people out of their cars when they don’t like the bumper sticker? This type of thing has been done before, in other countries. It can’t happen here? Well, yes, it is happening here. Last election season, a woman was fired from her job in Alabama for the crime of having an Obama sticker on her car. When the perps got away with that, the next step was obvious. What happens if some of these lowlifes don’t like the results of some of the elections on Tuesday? These paranoid, demented, hate-filled, easily fooled true-believers are continually egged on by a group of right wing radio and TV nihilists and candidates of very debatable sanity. I need not mention all of their names. We know who they are and we know their nightmare visions of how the world should be.

For too long there has been a belief on the Progressive Left or even among ordinary middle of the road Democrats like Harry Reid or Barack Obama that politics precludes getting tough with the crazies who walk among us. Some people think that just the facts will win the day and that the way to deal with bullies is to just be silent and be polite and turn the other cheek. Even now, President Obama talks about “working with Republicans” after the election. He talks about working with assholes that have been very clear about their desires to “break him” and “impeach him.” And, wimpy Harry Reid softly whispers about “bipartisan solutions.” There’s all of this political correctness that, in reality, is nothing more than meekness and living in a state of being perpetually cowed by bullies.
Political correctness? Not for me! Damn it all. The meek inherit nothing. Here’s my solution: In war, we must give as good as we get, and then some. You know, the goblins and the clowns and secret Chinese agents on FOX always whine about "political correctness" but that may be the only time I agree with them, although for somewhat subtly different reasons. They want to be free to express their agenda of hate, oppression, and ruination of the middle and working classes. I want to be free to call a spade a spade. I want to confront the madness full on. I think the sooner it's all out in the open, the better. Being a Neville Chamberlain is not the answer. It never has been and it never will be. Democrats and Progressives have been far too polite about all of the Repug loonies that have invaded our body politic like some deadly alien Andromeda Strain. We should frame the discussion in terms of the REAL reality not the FOX-fueled alternate comic book universe of backwards day delusion.
Tolerance has gotten us to where we are today. Nixon belonged in jail but our media and political leaders said mindless things like “No one wants to see the President in jail.” Oh really? Hell, they even gave that crook a pension, paid for by our taxes, when he deserved to be drawn and quartered at halftime in the Super Bowl! You bozo Repugs want medieval; we’ll give you medieval. We got Palin because our society as a whole was too kind to Bush and Cheney. We got O’Donnell because we let Palin off the hook and still do. She’s a fine one to talk about “palling around with terrorists.” How often have you seen or heard the media ask her about Joseph Volger?
What’s next: a knuckle-dragging, club wielding chimpanzee being treated as a viable and acceptable candidate on Morning Joe and being heavily promoted by Sean Hannity? Freddy Krueger for Senator? No problem. “Mr. Krueger, what’s your stance on stem cell research?” Hannibal Lecter? They’ll put him on the cover of Newsweek, and McDonalds and Outback Steakhouse will endorse him. “It’s all about the meat, stupid!”
Screw the wonkishness and trying to explain things to people who are incapable of comprehension or don't want to know anything other than some Mike Drudge talking point that has escaped his diseased little petri dish of a mind. Politeness and tolerance for wackos only encourages them. If someone is a total crackpot or criminally insane, we should say so, right on the TeeVee, on the street, and in Congress. Zero Tolerance is the only cure for total crazies. Politeness and compassion, my ass. Stop legitimizing this endless parade of Republican crackpots with your silence. The prescription calls for massive derision for the delusional! We have group homes and institutions for people like this. Our houses of government were not meant for such use.
Whether it's Sharron Angle or this guy who said gay people should kill themselves, we have tolerated their shit for far, far too long. These people are the stuff of supermarket tabloids and now they are running for office and might get elected because we have let them get this far by treating them with an overly generous level of respect that they do not deserve. Hell, FOX has even shamelessly used the Weekly World News as a news source and treated it as credible, as evidenced by their wacked out story about the L.A. police buying jet pack suits to fly around in. Most of the rest of the media has been no better, barely mentioning the brownshirt-style thuggery at recent Republican soires. So, the brownshirt Lex Luthers will push it further and further. Expect more and expect worse.
History has shown that when we let these people off the hook by being so damn civil, they just come back the next day or the next week with a bigger, more poisonous outrage. To think, this piece of living, breathing crap in Arkansas was on a school board! Rather than just resign, I think the guy should consider killing himself instead, thus making the world a better place by his leaving it immediately! So should John Boehner so he can come back in his next life as a matching set of orange patent leather shoes (both right) and handbag so he can languish in some Leona Helmsley or Mitch McConnell closet. 
And, in my own fantasy world, a giant dog shit encrusted army boot would come from the sky like a deus ex machina and stomp Rand Paul into a puddle of sickening pulp, Eric Cantor would be tried and hung by the ghosts of Auschwitz, and Michele Bachmann would given early entry into a flaming pit of Hell that would suddenly open up right under her. I long to her say “I’m melting!
Meanwhile, Sarah Plain and Christine O'Donnell would spend the rest of eternity in a Twilight Zone dimension where they are the only two people in all of existence and all of existence consists only of a sparse 10 x 10 room outfitted with only one chair, no blankets and a noisy and very temperamental radiator that alternates between not working at all on cold days and then raises the room temperature to over 140 degrees in the summer. It would be a bizarro world to match their bizarro minds! On the wall would be an electric clock and calendar that would give the time, the day of the week, and the date in completely scrambled and random fashion. Let them only have each other to talk to, making inane Alice in Wonderland style comments in their gibberish-speak all the live long day. Except for the occasional heat, they'd hardly notice the difference from their current narcissistic self-only reality. Happy Halloween everybody!


Sunday Classics: In "Cav," Turiddu gets his for being a numbskull, while Santa gets hers for being . . . a woman?


In a way better-sounding clip of this excerpt than we saw before, mezzo-soprano Tatiana Troyanos and tenor Plácido Domingo in the final section of the Santuzza-Turiddu scene, in Franco Zeffirelli's Met production of Cavalleria rusticana, with James Levine conducting, April 5, 1978.
TURIDDU [irate]: Ah, you see what you've said?
SANTUZZA: You wanted it, and it serves you right.
TURIDDU [rushing toward her]: Ah! By God!
SANTUZZA: Tear out my heart!
TURIDDU [turning to go]: No!
SANTUZZA [holding onto him]: Turiddu, listen!
SANTUZZA: Turiddu, listen!
No, no, Turiddu! Stay, stay yet.
Would you abandon me then?
TURIDDU: Why follow me, why spy on me
even to the limit of the church?
SANTUZZA: Your Santuzza weeps and begs you.
How can you chase her away like this?
TURIDDU: Go, I repeat, don't pester me.
Repenting is useless after the offense.
SANTUZZA {threatening]: Watch out!
TURIDDU: Your rage doesn't affect me.
[He throws her to the ground and runs into church.]
SANTUZZA: To you an evil Easter, betrayer!

by Ken

"Sola, perduta, abbandonata" -- "alone, lost, abandoned" -- is an outburst of Puccini's Manon Lescaut, but if ever there was a woman who could fairly register this complaint, it's poor Santuzza, the heroine of Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana" (Rustic Chivalry). We've been dancing around the opera, and now I think we're finally ready to lay out what makes it seem to me an utterly remarkable piece of musical dramaturgy.

As I've tried to suggest, Santuzza is such a creature of this village that she's imprisoned by its social mores. Most obviously, no one in the village hymnifies more ardently the glad Easter tiding that "our Lord isn't dead." True, she's been a bad girl in her nonmarital dalliance with Turiddu, but she's the one who's punished, excommunicated, while Turiddu gets off scotfree. You may argue that the fate that befalls him in the opera doesn't seem quite scotfree, but remember, he pays that price, not for his fling with Santa, but for his stubborn and stupid insistence on carrying on with the now-married Lola. These are the village's beautiful people, who want what they want when they want it, and think they can get away with it.


Preview: Mr. Mascagni goes to the movies (1) [10/8/10]
Mascagni excerpts used in Raging Bull: part of the Cav Intermezzo plus the Barcarolle from Silvana and the Act III Intermezzo from Guglielmo Ratcliff

Preview: Mr. Mascagni goes to the movies (2) [10/9/10]
Turiddu's "Siciliana" sung by Enrico Caruso and José Cura and Santuzza's "Ineggiamo" sung by Fiorenza Cossotto (1965 audio recording and 1976 Tokyo video)

Main post: It's a shame we don't have a verb that means "to celebrate by singing hymns" [10/10/10]
The "Ineggiamo" again, sung by Waltraud Meier (video); Alfio the teamster's entrance sung by Ettore Batianini, Alexandru Agache, Robert Merrill; the Prelude and "Siciliana" from complete Cav recordings with Jussi Bjoerling (Alberto Erede, cond., RCA/Decca), Giuseppe di Stefano (Tullio Serafin, cond., EMI), Franco Corelli (Gabriele Santini, cond., EMI), and Carlo Bergonzi (Herbert von Karajan, cond., DG); and a bouquet of performances of the complete Easter-hymn sequence and just the "Ineggiamo"; plus a video tease of the final section of the Santuzza-Turiddu scene

Preview: Poor Santuzza is a prisoner of her village's "family values" [10/29/10]
Our first hearing of Santuzza's crucial aria "Voi lo sapete," and a close-ish look at the little scene in which Santuzza first tries to find out from Turiddu's mother where he is.

Preview: The "bad boys" of Cav 'n' Pag [10/30/10]
We heard the troubled tenor protagonists of the two operas before and after their meltdowns: Turiddu (in Cav) singing his Brindisi and then the Addio alla madre, Canio (in Pag) singing "Un grande spettacolo" and "No, Pagliaccio non son" (with an extra "Vesti la giubba" thrown in).

We're going to retrace, this time in proper order, events we've already touched on in one way or another. Just to be clear, the numbering of these events isn't meant to suggest anything about "highlights" or "dramatic cruxes." They're just to help us keep our place.


The year Cavalleria rusticana turned 50, composer Pietro Mascagni, then 76, was invited to make a complete recording of the opera, and almost everybody insists it's too slow. You'll hear people prattle on about incorrect "versimo style," which to them seems to mean slam-bam blood 'n' guts. Now I don't usually make appeals to a "composer's intention," preferring to try to glean a work's intention, but I do think it's at least worth considering whether the composer may have known something about his creation.

I'm suggesting that he was trying to create the world of this remote Sicilian village as it awakens to the hot Easter morning -- the moderate tempos seem to me to seethe with the already considerable heat to which the villagers automatically adjust their movements. And then, in this low-key atmosphere, discord flares and finally violence erupts.

Let's listen to the opening of the recording, bearing in mind that tenor Beniamino Gigli had turned 50 the month before. He still had a lot of singing years left in him; this is the case of a lyric tenor who did much if not most of his singing in the heavier-weight spinto- and dramatic-tenor repertory, and by this time there wasn't much lyric ease or plush left in the voice -- and once it was gone (and time would surely have taken it from him anyway), he didn't have to worry about preserving it anymore.

MASCAGNI: Cavalleria rusticana: Prelude and "Siciliana"
O Lola of the milk-white blouse,
of the fair skin and cherry lips,
when you come laughing to the window,
happy is he who first can kiss you.
Blood has been shed across your door,
but I shall not care if I am slain there.
And if I should die and go to Paradise
and not find you there, I would not stay.
Beniamino Gigli (t), Turiddu; Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, Pietro Mascagni, cond. EMI, recorded April 1940

It's sometimes suggested that Mascagni was just too old when he made the commercial recording, and it's certainly true that he was no longer the same young man who created the opera 50 years earlier. However, while it's admittedly only a couple of years earlier than the recording, in the live performance from The Hague from which we've already heard excerpts, he took pretty similar tempos.

Antonio Melandri (t), Turiddu; Orchestra of Opera Italiana d'Olanda, Pietro Mascagni, cond. Bongiovanni, recorded live in The Hague, Nov. 7, 1938

And when Leonard Bernstein undertook Cav at the Met, when Franco Zeffirelli's still-in-use Cav-Pag production was new in 1970 -- pointedly conducting only the Mascagni opera and not Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, which was entrusted to the conventionally dependable, and dependably conventional, Fausto Cleva -- he took a similar approach.

Franco Corelli (t), Turiddu; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, cond. Live performance, Feb. 7, 1970

Far more typical of opera-house rough handling is this excerpt from a performance we're going to be returning to in this post, routinely but energetically conducted by the aforementioned Fausto Cleva but featuring some quite out-of-the-ordinary singing by Irene Dalis (a fine singer who didn't get nearly her due; we haven't had a dramatic mezzo anywhere near her worth in a long while) and Barry Morell (who, to be honest, I never heard otherwise do any singing on this level -- he really did an afternoon's work that Saturday). Please note that the source for this performance is at quite a high volume level, which I didn't succeed in taming even in the couple of excerpts I edited.

Barry Morell (t), Turiddu; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Fausto Cleva, cond. Live performance, Dec. 8, 1962


This, you recall, is the little scene in which Santuzza tries to find out from Turiddu's mother where he is. That moment I love so much, Santuzza's "Mamma Lucia, I beg you, weeping," comes at 2:16 of our clip today, and after Mamma Lucia's "Enter" (at 3:16), Santa's heart-rending cry of "I'm excommunicated, I'm excommunicated" comes at 3:26.

MASCAGNI: Cavalleria rusticana:
Santuzza, "Dite, Mamma Lucia"

SANTUZZA: Tell me, Mamma Lucia . . .
MAMMA LUCIA [surprised]: It's you? What do you want?
SANTUZZA: Where is Turiddu?
MAMMA LUCIA: So you come here to look
for my son?
SANTUZZA: I just want to know,
forgive me, where to find him.
MAMMA LUCIA: I don't know, I don't know. I don't want trouble.
SANTUZZA: Mamma Lucia, I beg you, weeping,
act as our Lord did toward Mary Magdalen.
Tell me for pity's sake, where is Turiddu?

Tell me for pity's sake, where is Turiddu?
MAMMA LUCIA: He went for wine to Francofonte.
SANTUZZA: No! He was seen in the village late last night.
MAMMA LUCIA: What are you saying? If he didn't come home . . .
[Going toward her house] Enter.
SANTUZZA: I can't enter your house. I can't enter.
I'm excommunicated. I'm excommunicated.

MAMMA LUCIA: And what do would you know about my dear son?
SANTUZZA: What a thorn I have in my heart!
Irene Dalis (ms), Santuzza; Lili Chookasian (c), Mamma Lucia; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Fausto Cleva, cond. Live performance, Dec. 8, 1962


The above dialogue between Santuzza and Mamma Lucia is interrupted, you'll recall, by the music announcing the entrance of the teamster Alfio, who mentions in his energetic song that when he finishes his rounds he returns home to "Lola." A "Lola," again you'll recall, is the woman to whom our offstage tenor sang his seductive "Siciliana" in the Prelude.

It's Francis Ford Coppola's "highly dramatic (or literally melodramatic) use (or more accurately abuse) [in The Godfather Part III] of the great Easter service, which provides a backdrop for the film's climactic serial bloodbath," that forms the basis for my complaint about what he did with, or to, the opera. As I wrote:
I know people will think I'm engaged in fuddy-duddyist nitpicking when I complain about Coppola's mendacious rearrangement, moving the Easter hymn of Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana from virtually the beginning of the opera to virtually the end. Give us a break, isn't that just a bit of dramatic license?

Well, no, it isn't. It not only misrepresents the kind of story-telling Mascagni was engaged in, which is bad enough (come on now, if you think Cavalleria is worthy enough to exploit for your own dramatic purpose as the Sicilian-themed opera that Michael Corleone's son Anthony is singing for his operatic debut, in the capital of Corleone country, Palermo, Sicily, then I'm sorry, you have an obligation not to falsify it so blatantly), but transforms the intense character portraits Mascagni was undertaking into cheesy melodrama -- "operatic" in the conventionally disparaging sense.

Bottom line: Coppola has every right to choose cheesy melodrama for his own story-telling, but not to transform other people's into it.

In this excerpt from the composer's 1938 Hague performance, the moment I love, when the organ first sounds, preparing us for the beginning of the Easter service inside the church (with the singing of the "Regina coeli), occurs at 3:07. I know we've heard the Easter hymn -- with the "Regina coeli" (at 3:36 of our clip) being sung inside the church and the villagers still outside singing, "Let us celebrate in hymn that our Lord isn't dead." But we're going to hear the scene beginning with the "Regina coeli" once more, because this is, remember, our starting point -- my extreme discontent with the trashing inflicted on the opera by Coppola in Godfather III.

MASCAGNI: Cavalleria rusticana: (1) Alfio, "Il cavallo scalpita" . . . (2) Mamma Lucia, "Beato voi, compar Alfio" . . . (3) "Regina coeli" . . . (4) Chorus, then Santuzza, "Inneggiamo, il Signor non è morto"
(1) ALFIO: The horse's hooves thunder,
the harness bells jingle,
the whip cracks, ehi là!!
Let the cold wind blow,
let rain or snow fall,
to me what does it matter?
VILLAGERS: Oh, what a lovely way of life,
to be a carter,
to go here and there.
ALFIO: The whip cracks, the whip cracks, ehi là!

ALFIO: Waiting for me at home is Lola,
who loves me and comforts me,
who is ever faithful.
The horse's hooves thunder,
the harness bells jingle,
it's Easter and here I am!
VILLAGERS: Oh, what a lovely way of life,
to be a carter,
to go here and there.
ALFIO: The whip cracks, the whip cracks, ehi là!

(2) MAMMA LUCIA: You're lucky, friend Alfio,
that you're always so happy.
ALFIO: Mamma Lucia, you don't still have
any of that old wine?
MAMMA LUCIA: I don't know.
Turiddu has gone to get some.
ALFIO: But he's still here.
I saw him this morning
near my house.
SANTUZZA [quickly to MAMMA LUCIA]: Be quiet.
[From the church the Alleluja is heard sounding.]
ALFIO: I'm going now.
You others go in chuch. [Exits.]

(3) CHORUS INSIDE THE CHURCH: Regina coeli laetare --
Allelua! --
Quia quem meruisti portare --
Alleluja! --
Resurrexit sicut dixit --

Let us rejoice in hymn,
the Lord is not dead,
He in glory
has opened the tomb.
Let us rejoice in hymn
at the Lord's rising again,
ascending to Heaven.
[Everyone has entered the church except SANTUZZA and MAMMA LUCIA.]
Afro Poli (b), Alfio; Rina Gallo Toscani (ms), Mamma Lucia; Lina Bruna Rasa (s), Santuzza; Chorus and Orchestra of Opera Italiana d'Olanda, Pietro Mascagni, cond. Bongiovanni, recorded live in The Hague, Nov. 7, 1938
[from "Regina coeli" only] Irene Dalis (ms), Santuzza; Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Fausto Cleva, cond. Live performance, Dec. 8, 1962


Once the churchgoers have dispersed, Mamma Lucia asks Santuzza why she silenced her when Alfio pointed out that Turiddu is still in the village, having been seen near his house last night. On only one point does it seem to me that Santuzza is to be mistrusted here, but unfortunately it's the one that's most important to her: her belief that Turiddu loved her. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of this. Rather she seems to have been a convenient outlet for his urges when he came back from the army and found his beloved Lola married.

MASCAGNI: Cavalleria rusticana: Santuzza, "Voi lo sapete"
SANTUZZA: As you know, Mamma,
before going off to be a soldier
Turiddu had sworn
eternal faith to Lola.
He returned, found her married,
and with a new love
wanted to quench the fire
that burned in his heart.
He loved me. I loved him.

She, that envier of any joy of mine,
forgetting her husband,
burning with jealousy,
snatched him from me.
Here I am stripped of my honor.
Lola and Turiddu are lovers.
I weep. I weep.

MAMMA LUCIA: Mercy on us, what on earth
have you just told me,
on this blessed day?
SANTUZZA: I'm damned. I'm damned.
Go, Mamma, to implore God,
and pray for me.
Turiddu will be coming.
I want to plead with him
yet one more time.
MAMMA LUCIA [going toward the church]: Help her, Blessed Mary.
Maria Callas (s), Santuzza; Ebe Ticozzi (ms), Mamma Lucia; Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, Tullio Serafin, cond. EMI, recorded June 16-25 and Aug. 3-4, 1953
Renata Tebaldi (s), Santuzza; Rina Corsi (ms), Mamma Lucia; Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Alberto Erede, cond. RCA/Decca, recorded Sept. 1-7, 1957
Victoria de los Angeles (s), Santuzza; Corinna Vozza (ms), Mamma Lucia; Rome Opera Orchestra, Gabriele Santini, cond. EMI, recorded 1962
Irene Dalis (ms), Santuzza; Lili Chookasian (c), Mamma Lucia; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Fausto Cleva, cond. Live performance, Dec. 8, 1962


Sure enough, Turiddu makes his belated Easter appearance, and Santuzza demonstrates the sadly human inability to believe an ex-lover when he says it's over. By and large, when one party has been as emphatic about the overness as Turiddu, it's only a deludedly overactive imagination on the other party's part which allows for any other possibility.

We're hearing just the later part of this climactic confrontation, including Santa's desperate final plea to Turiddu stay with her ("No, no, Turiddu; Turiddu, Turiddu, rimani"), for which you'll recognize we've already heard the music in the Prelude. It would be hard to imagine four Santuzzas more unlike, vocally and dramatically. than Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas, Victoria de los Angeles, and Irene Dalis, but in their very different ways I think they communicate masterfully the character's desperation and desolation. As for the Turiddus, Jussi Bjoerling's technical mastery and vocal magic camouflage the fact that his tenor is underweight for the role -- as is Giuseppe di Stefano's, perhaps by natural endowment even more beautiful than Bjoerling's, though his already-evident tendency to vocal pushing and heaving conceals the vocal underendowment less well. The role really asks for something like Franco Corelli's gleaming dramatic-weight tenor. At least on this Saturday afternoon Barry Morell sounds uncannily like the genuine article.

MASCAGNI: Cavalleria rusticana: Turiddu, "Ah! lo vedi, che hai tu detto" . . . Santuzza, "No, no, Turiddu"
[for texts see above]
Giuseppe di Stefano (t), Turiddu; Maria Callas (s), Santuzza; Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, Tullio Serafin, cond. EMI, recorded June 16-25 and Aug. 3-4, 1953
Jussi Bjoerling (t), Turiddu; Renata Tebaldi (s), Santuzza; Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Alberto Erede, cond. RCA/Decca, recorded Sept. 1-7, 1957
Franco Corelli (t), Turiddu; Victoria de los Angeles (s), Santuzza; Rome Opera Orchestra, Gabriele Santini, cond. EMI, recorded 1962
Barry Morell (t), Turiddu; Irene Dalis (ms), Santuzza; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Fausto Cleva, cond. Live performance, Dec. 8, 1962

Unfortunately for Turiddu, at this very moment who should happen along but the gentleman he's cuckolding, Alfio? I know to some people this sounds like a coincidence that reeks of the "operatic." To me it seems like pretty much the way life works a lot of the time -- timing counts for a lot. In these circumstances, is it surprising that Santa does, well, what she does? Which is to tell Alfio what he's probably just about the last person in the village to know: what's going on between his wife and Turiddu.

Of course the clock is ticking for Turiddu in any case. How long do you suppose it would be before Alfio found out otherwise? And do you suppose he would be any more, er, understanding then? I'm estimating that Santuzza's untimely revelation merely shortens Turiddu's life by a week -- or maybe two at the outside.


Oh, there's lots more to happen. By a rotten stroke of luck for Turiddu, who should happen along at this very moment but Alfio? And given the state Santuzza's in, she can't stop herself from doing a nasty thing: spilling the beans to the cuckolded husband. My contention, though, is that she only shortens Turiddu's life by maybe a week, tops. In a village this small, how long can Lola and Turiddu's secret remain a secret? Especially since we know that Alfio already knows Turiddu has been hanging around his house.

Then in the opera's second scene we'll have the public celebration that feature's Turiddu's drinking song, and Alfio's confrontation with Turiddu, and Turiddu's tipsy farewell to his puzzled mother, followed shortly by the spreading word that Turiddu has been killed. But I think we'll take our leave where we came in, with the Intermezzo.

MASCAGNI: Cavalleria rusticana: Intermezzo
Orchestra of Opera Italiana d'Olanda, Pietro Mascagni, cond. Bongiovanni, recorded live in The Hague, Nov. 7, 1938

To go out with, I thought I might turn up a performance of the Intermezzo somewhere among my CDs by some particularly intriguing conductor. In truth, though, I've never heard a more beautiful performance than Herbert von Karajan's with the Scala orchestra.

Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, Herbert von Karajan, cond. DG, recorded Sept.-Oct. 1965

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We're Betting On Alan Grayson Tuesday


The Orlando Sentinel is the biggest newspaper in central Florida. The paper is very conservative in its editorial stance and has been extremely negative-- not just editorially but even to the point of slanting its news coverage-- in regard to the local congressman, Alan Grayson. Needless to say the Sentinel endorsed Grayson's extremist opponent, Daniel Webster. Below is the Sentinel's editorial board in a desultory and condescending meeting with Grayson that preceded the endorsement of Taliban Dan.

The Sentinel, the Republican Party and the Wall Street interests that fund it, delusional, self-loathing teabaggers, the American Taliban, the Beck-Palin tagteam and, most of all, corporate America, are licking their collective chops at what they hope is the impending political demise of the nation's most effective representative for the interests of ordinary working families. Despite baseball statistician Nate Silver's dire and typically ill-informed warning that Grayson only has a 17% chance of reelection, my own assessment is more optimistic. I think the "dispassionate" Villagers, as well as the enemies of America and the enemies of working families are going to be very disappointed on Tuesday-- at least as far as one Orlando district. Click on the graphic:

What you're looking at is the last minute ad Blue America is running online in central Florida on behalf of Grayson's campaign. Thanks to an onslaught of deceptive and vicious ads from Rove, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and half a dozen other GOP front groups, many of them financed by China and other foreign competitors eager to make America weaker, there was not a single cable TV spot available. This ad will be viewed by over 300,000 voters in the district. If you didn't click on it this, in part, is what you missed:
You know, when America's worst columnist devotes an entire piece to his eliminationist right-wing wish for the voters to "purge" you from the American scene, you have to figure you're scoring, and against some sensitive targets. Why else target you?

Well, Alan Grayson has been fighting the good fight for the people of Florida 08 since he hit the halls of Congress in 2009. And he's been out in front of every other politician in the country in demanding accountability for the greatest banking fraud scandal in American history. When he heard reports of banks foreclosing on homes they didn't own, he didn't consult pollsters or political strategists, Grayson took action and requested that the Florida Supreme Court step in. That public request got the ball rolling and Attorney's General and state officials across the nation looked at the evidence of similar fraudulent behavior and called for moratoriums on foreclosures.

As this foreclosure fraud scandal unfolds, Grayson remains at the forefront of those demanding accountability, speaking plainly and assertively of the need for this criminal behavior to come to and end so the country can finally start to rebuild from the rubble. And like Republicans running for national office all over America, his opponent has breathed nary a word about it, fearing, as they all do, the wrath of the big banks and wealthy financial interests who want to sweep this under the rug to protect their profits.

If you want someone who isn't afraid to take on the big corporate interests, someone who isn't afraid to take on entrenched political power, who isn't afraid, period, you'll vote for Alan Grayson. He's got your back-- won't you get his?

Digby put up some great photos yesterday of Grayson's field team and some degenerate fraternity types supporting Taliban Dan. The contrast is telling... and marked.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sunday Classics preview: The "bad boys" of "Cav" 'n' "Pag"


It's a shame we don't have a better visual reproduction -- it sounds pretty good, doesn't it? -- of this classic 1927 Vitaphone short (I recall seeing a version that actually looked as well as sounded pretty good) in which the great tenor Beniamino Gigli sings Turiddu's drinking song from Cavalleria rusticana. (At the end we see Turiddu facing up to a challenge from "compar Alfio," with whose wife he has been sleeping, in the person of baritone Millo Picco. A companion Vitaphone short continues on with the Addio alla madre.)

by Ken

Of course even if we had a better video reproduction of that Vitaphone short, Gigli would still look like Gigli rather than, say, Franco Corelli, whose physical presence would give us a better feeling for the hold this overgrown boy of a charmer has over his rustic Sicilian village. (If you recall from last night's preview, in which we heard his dumped fling Santuzza filling his clueless mother in on the village dirt, he's been a soldier -- a real man of the world!) For the record, Corelli could sing the daylights out of the role, and fortunately this we don't have to imagine. Here's Corelli singing the Brindisi, from his complete recording of Cav.

MASCAGNI: Cavalleria rusticana: Turiddu's
Brindisi, "Viva il vino spumeggiante"

Franco Corelli (t), Turiddu; Rome Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Gabriele Santini, cond. EMI, recorded 1962

While the all-but-inseparable hour-and-a-quarter operas Cavalleria rusticana and I Pagliacci. Clearly they have a chemistry that makes them so compatible, but they're also incredibly different. Even the "bad boys" at their dramatic centers, perhaps their closest point of convergence, are pretty different. Clearly, though, both Turiddu (in Cav) and Canio (in Pag) have a package of looks and charm that in their big-fish-in-small-pond world passes for charisma, and in both cases we see that charm in full measure and then see it all fall apart for them. So for tonight's preview I thought we'd do a "before and after," hearing each pre- and post-meltdown.

We've already glimpsed Turiddu the seducer, in his pre-curtain offstage "Siciliana," serenading his beautiful Lola, and of course we've just seen as well as heard him work a crowd. Still, one more time wouldn't hurt, right? Here's Jussi Bjoerling.

MASCAGNI: Cavalleria rusticana: Turiddu's
Brindisi, "Viva il vino spumeggiante"

Jussi Bjoerling (t), Turiddu; Chorus and Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Alberto Erede, cond. RCA/Decca, recorded Sept. 1-7, 1957

We'll talk more about Turiddu's meltdown tomorrow. Meanwhile here he is, saying farewell to his mother (the Addio alla madre), sung again by Corelli and Bjoerling.

MASCAGNI: Cavalleria rusticana: Turiddu's
Addo alla madre, "Mamma, quel vino è generoso"

Jussi Bjoerling (t), Turiddu; Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Alberto Erede, cond. RCA/Decca, recorded Sept. 1-7, 1957

Franco Corelli (t), Turiddu; Rome Opera Orchestra, Gabriele Santini, cond. EMI, recorded 1962

As for other bad boy, we've already heard Canio's most famous number, "Vesti la giubba," a bunch of times. Here's a recording of some interest that we didn't hear, from an Italian aria recital Jon Vickers recorded for RCA in 1961, the summer after he made his first Otello recording, also with Tullio Serafin conducting.

LEONCAVALLO: I Pagliacci: Act I, Canio,
"Recitar!" . . . "Vesti la giubba"

Jon Vickers (t), Canio; Rome Opera Orchesttra, Tullio Serafin, cond. RCA/VAI, recorded July 1961

Now let's back up and hear Canio in full-charm mode, just arriving in this Calabrian village with his troupe of singing actors and working the crowd, doing his sales spiel for that night's show -- a late one ("a venti-tre ore," Canio sings so memoraably, "at 23 hours") -- to the gathered Calabrian villagers. (We actually saw a good bit of this in the clip from the Zeffirelli film of Pagliacci which began with Juan Pons as Tonio singing the Prologue.) We could easily to the Bjoerling-and-Corelli route for Canio as well, but I thought we'd mix it up a little.

LEONCAVALLO: I Pagliacci: Act I, Villagers, "Eh! Son qua!" . . . Canio, "Mi accordan di parlar?" . . . "Un grande spettacolo"

Giuseppe di Stefano (t), Canio; Tito Gobbi (b), Tonio; unidentified (b) and (t), Villagers; Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, Tullio Serafin, cond. EMI, recorded June 12-17, 1954
Jon Vickers (t), Canio; Cornell MacNeil (b), Tonio; unidentified (b) and (t), Villagers; Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Bruno Bartoletti, cond. VAI, recorded live, 1968

Note that as our audio clips continue on past Canio's spiel, and the villagers invite him and his fellow actors out for a pre-show drink, and one warns jokingly that the hunchback Tonio, who has declined the invitation in order to stay behind in order to tend to the horse, may plan to woo Canio's wife, Nedda, we see signs of the meltdown to come. We really should continue on with his "Un tal gioco," in which he makes clear that he knows it's a joke, but there are some jokes it's better not to joke.

For Canio the joke becomes all too real when he catches Nedda at the end of a brief but still foolish encounter with a man she plans to run off with after the night's show. The show itself goes off the rails when Canio, playing the stock commedia dell'arte character of Pagliaccio the player, finds the plot of their little farce too eerily mirroring real life, and finally declares: "No, I'm not Pagliaccio," berating Nedda for what he sees as the cruel way she's repaid him for all he's done for her.

LEONCAVALLO: I Pagliacci: Act II,
Canio, "No, Pagliaccio non son"

[recital version] Jon Vickers (t), Canio; Rome Opera Orchestra, Tullio Serafin, cond. RCA/VAI, recorded July 1961
Giuseppe di Stefano (t), Canio; Rolando Panerai (b), Silvio; Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, Tullio Serafin, cond. EMI, recorded June 12-17, 1954


The collision course Turiddu and Santuzza are on ends badly for most everyone concerned.

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